Indonesia mulls visa-free access for 20 countries, including the U.S. and China

Indonesia mulls visa-free access for 20 countries, including the U.S. and China

Indonesia is studying the possibility of granting visa-free entry to citizens of 20 countries, including the United States, China, Australia, India, South Korea, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France. These countries are the main sources of tourists to Indonesia. 

The move is aimed at boosting the country's tourism and economic sectors. It is hoped that by providing visa-free visit facilities, tourists from these 20 countries will extend their stay in Indonesia and spend more money.

Within the next month, the government plans to compile an official list of countries that will be covered by this visa-free policy.

Sandiaga Uno, Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy of the Republic of Indonesia, said on Thursday (Dec. 7) that the President has instructed the government to consider visa-free options as a strategy to boost economic growth, increase tourist arrivals and encourage investment.

Sandiaga Uno also stressed that the visa-free policy will be considered by taking into account various aspects, including economic impact, reciprocity principle, and security considerations.

According to official data, more than 16 million foreigners visited Indonesia before the outbreak of the pandemic. From January to October this year, Indonesia recorded more than 9.49 million foreign visitor arrivals, an increase of 124.3 percent compared to the same period in 2022.

In addition to this proposal, the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) also proposed 13 airports as top priorities in handling foreign tourist arrivals. The airports are those in the five super-priority tourist destinations, namely Kualanamu, Yogyakarta International Airport, Lombok, Komodo, and Sam Ratulangi. 

Meanwhile, there are also eight other airports included in the proposal, such as Batam, Jakarta, Surabaya, Makassar, Banda Aceh, Jayapura, and Kertajati. These airports will be prioritized for development outside the Umrah and Hajj seasons.

Indonesia is one of the latest countries in the Southeast Asian region to explore the possibility of granting visa waivers to Chinese travelers, a key market in the tourism industry. The move is in line with Singapore's decision, which on Thursday announced plans for a 30-day joint visa waiver with China to be implemented early next year.

In addition, Thailand and Malaysia have also recently introduced visa waiver policies for visitors from China and India.

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